Dundee seized the initiative in the Premiership play-off semi-final with a 3-0 win at Raith.
A Jordan McGhee double either side of the break and an Osman Sow strike six minutes from time left Rovers with a mountain to climb going into Saturday's second leg at Dens Park.
Instead, it is the Dark Blues who can dream of a top-flight return after a dominant display.
There was a lack of energy about Raith in the opening exchanges as the home side lacked the zip in their play that saw them ease past Dunfermline in their Fife derby quarter-final.
Their early play was littered with misplaced passes and they were lucky not to go behind in the first minute.
Iain Davidson was slack with a ball to Kyle Benedictus and they were fortunate when Paul McMullan screwed his shot wide.
Dundee, fresh from the break they earned by finishing above their hosts in second in the Championship table, were content to allow Rovers possession before pressing hard when they could.
But they were forced into more desperate defending in the sixth minute.
Brad Spencer found room for a shot that Charlie Adam threw himself in front of to block.
Cammy Kerr then repelled a Dan Armstrong effort as Rovers recycled possession.
Adam then set up the opener with a piece of vintage skill in the 22nd minute. A magnificent diagonal pass picked out the run of McGhee and the midfielder side-footed his volley beyond the exposed Jamie MacDonald.
Raith slowly recovered and built up a head of stead as the half-time whistle approached.
And they thought they had hauled themselves back level in the 42nd minute only to be left cursing a mistaken offside flag.
Rovers built up brilliantly down the left to buy Ross Matthews space. His cutback was swept into the six-yard box by Lewis Vaughan and Reghan Tumilty hammered in from close range.
However, referee Nick Walsh cut short the celebrations.
Raith would have harboured a sense of injustice as they came out for the second-half, but their task got even harder just nine minutes after the break.
Again, Adam was the creator with another stunning pass from the centre of the pitch and once more it was McGhee who was the willing runner.
The midfielder outstripped the Rovers rearguard and slid a composed finish beyond MacDonald.
With Raith forced to desperately seek a way back into the tie, Dundee hit them with a sucker punch.
Adams fed Max Anderson and he picked out the run of fellow substitute Sow, who fired high into the net.